Today we’d like to introduce you to Mark Toland.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I grew up in a small town in Kansas where I was fascinated by all things magic and mind reading. I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a performer.
My background is in Theatre Performance. I have a BFA in Music and Acting, plus improv and writing training from The Second City and Improv Olympic.
After college I was trying to find a way to combine all of my interests so I started working on a mind reading act. It was the perfect combination of everything I love: performance, theatre, writing, and psychology. Plus, it was a great icebreaker for the situations I found myself in at the time.
Since making the decision to be “Mark Toland, Mind Reader” I’ve spent a year working as an entertainer at Disney World, been named “The Top Booked Mind Reader in the US & Canada”, and sold out shows from coast to coast.
Most of my time is spent designing custom presentations for Fortune 500 companies. This year I’ll perform in 25+ states and 3 countries – and that’s just by the end of the summer!
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
A career in the arts is anything but smooth. There are constant roadblocks along the path to success. Fortunately, I have an obsessive personality and a persistent streak that keeps me focused on my goals.
When I was just starting out a lot of people told me I “needed a backup plan to fall back on”. I ignored that advice, thinking that if I had a “backup plan” then I would definitely “fall back on it”. That was one of the best decisions I ever made.
I’ve also forged partnerships with people that at the time felt like a major step forward. However, it turned out they weren’t in it for the right reasons and it was a dead end. I have yet to find a collaborator who is willing to work as hard as I am. I guess that explains why I’m a solo entertainer!
The other struggle of a career in the arts is the need to constantly learn new things. You have to learn to build websites, edit video, take pictures, design graphics, do your taxes, master new software, have a social media presence, and more! Plus, you also have to find the time to work on your show and make sure it is top-notch. When I was starting out I would work 18 hour days just so I didn’t have to wait tables. In hindsight, I think it paid off.
Those are just a few of the many struggles I’ve dealt with as an artist. Every new level of opportunity presents a new set of difficulties so you learn to adapt and evolve as you go.
Mark Toland, Mind Reader – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I provide entertainment services for exclusive events worldwide. Most of my work is for major corporations such as McDonald’s, Pepsi, Dos Equis, Citi Bank, Sephora, the US Marine Corps, and more.
My entertainment is split into a few different presentations including walk around entertainment, my full length show, and customized presentations.
I also present a corporate keynote called “Think Like A Mind Reader” which shares useful tips and tricks I’ve developed over the years that people can use to improve their memory and communication skills. The keynote was born out of a TEDx Talk I gave back in 2014 and now I’ve shared it all over the country.
Publicly, I perform a monthly show called “Mysteries of the Mind” at the Uptown Underground in Chicago. The show is presented by the Chicago Magic Lounge and is the only mind reading show in the city.
Of all the things I’ve been a part of, my favorite work is my theatre show. I just returned from the FRIGID New York Festival, where my show was a “Best of FRIGID” pick and received an “Audience Choice Award”. I’m most proud of the recognition I’ve received within the theatre community, something that mind reading is not commonly associated with.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
The proudest moment of my career has been finding a way to stay true to myself as an artist while also making a decent living as an entertainer. I’m thrilled that I get to travel the world making people happy while also doing what I love the most.
- Website: http://www.MarkToland.com
- Phone: (773) 857-0035
- Email: info@MarkToland.com
- Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/MarkTolandLiive
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MarkTolandLive
- Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/MarkTolandLive
- Other: http://www.youtube.com/MarkTolandLive